Home  »  A Library of American Literature  »  Social Phonograms

Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Social Phonograms

By Philip Henry Welch (1849–1889)

[Born in Angelica, N. Y., 1849. Died in Brooklyn, N. Y., 1889. The Tailor-Made Girl. Her Friends, her Fashions, and her Follies. 1888.]


MR. TEWKSBURY.What beastly bore is on for to-night?

MRS. TEWKSBURY.I don’t think your hostess would be flattered to hear you.

MR. T.It isn’t the hostess—it’s the whole blanked thing.

MRS. T.Oh!

MR. T.Who is she, by the way?

MRS. T.The blanked thing?

MR. T.No; the hostess.

MRS. T.Our first hostess is Mrs. B. G. Busby Salamander, for dinner, and——

MR. T.Gad! I hope the dinner will be as hot as the name—

MRS. T.Afterward a dance at the Robinsons——

MR. T.Cold soup may be all very well in Russia; but it is deuced poor stuff in New York.

MRS. T.And where, may I ask, do you get cold soup?

MR. T.At half the places we dine. A week ago at the Bitterns, Monday at the Tinderboxes, and last night down-stairs, my love, with my legs stretched under our own mahogany.

MRS. T.It isn’t mahogany, it’s English oak.

MR. T.A mere figure of speech—the soup was cold, just the same.

MRS. T.A mere figure of speech—the soup was boiling.

MR. T.My love!

MRS. T.My dear!

MR. T.Mrs. Tewksbury!

MRS. T.Mr. Tewksbury!

MR. T.You are warm, my love; wherein you are very unlike the soup.

MRS. T.The soup was delicious.

MR. T.The soup was execrable.

MRS. T.Baron Vendredi spoke specially of it, and asked if our chef was a cordon bleu.

MR. T.Did he? That’s rich! I forgive the soup. What did you say?

MRS. T.Oh, I parried the blow!

MR. T.You were wise. Mrs. Magillicuddy may be a bas bleu, although I question any bas at all; but she is decidedly not a cordon bleu.

MRS. T.Bridget is a very good cook.

MR. T.Oh, yes—who’s been at my dressing-case?

MRS. T.Yourself, principally.

MR. T.I can only find one brush.

MRS. T.You have two in your hands.

MR. T.Oh, so I have. I was going to remark, my dear, that Baron Vendredi pays you a good deal of attention.

MRS. T.I was his hostess last night.

MR. T.You are not always his hostess.

MRS. T.Frenchmen are all manner, you know.

MR. T.H’m. Does he dine at the Salamanders to-night?

MRS. T.I believe so.

MR. T.Does he know you are to be there?

MRS. T.Probably—he sent me flowers to-day.

MR. T.The devil!

MRS. T.No; Baron Vendredi.

MR. T.It’s all the same. You shall not wear them.

MRS. T.“Shall not” doesn’t sound well, Mr. Tewksbury.

MR. T.It means well, though. You are pinning them in your corsage now.

MRS. T.Am I?

MR. T.[shouting].Yes, you are; and you may take them out too!

MRS. T.[removes them].As you like.

MR. T.[somewhat mollified].Thanks! You have other flowers?

MRS. T.None that I care to wear.

MR. T.I sent you some to-day.

MRS. T.I received them.

MR. T.Did they please you?

MRS. T.Oh, yes!

MR. T.Why don’t you wear them?

MRS. T.You told me not to.

MR. T.I? Ah, I see! Those were my flowers you were fastening on your dress?

MRS. T.Yes.

MR. T.Mrs. Tewksbury, you are an angel, as usual, and as usual I am——

MRS. T.Mr. Tewksbury.

MR. T.Right you are! What shall it be?

MRS. T.[archly].Do you think that diamond bracelet——

MR. T.You shall have it to-morrow morning. Am I forgiven?

MRS. T.There is nothing to be forgiven. You laid the train, fired it, and then got singed with your own powder.

MR. T.Then the bracelet——

MRS. T.Will be merely a souvenir of the occasion.

MR. T.Ah!


REV. DR. HAUTTON[before service, to sexton].Jones, slant the second window to the left behind the pulpit; it throws a pleasant light on the reading-desk.

JONES.Very well, sir!

REV. DR. H.[solus].The green hue also enhances the pallor of my face.


REV. DR. H.[after service].Good-morning, my dear Mr. Crœsus! What a charming day has been graciously vouchsafed to us!

MR. CRŒSUS.H’m—yes—yes; fine season of the year!

REV. DR. H.[coughing].I noticed Mrs. Crœsus’s absence from church this morning. I hope the dear lady is not ill.

MR. CRŒSUS.No, no—used up a little; she’s been on that Kirmess all the week, you know, and it’s (excuse me) been a dayvilish hard job.

REV. DR. H.Mrs. Crœsus is apt to go beyond her strength, I fear—her enthusiasm is so great.

MR. CRŒSUS.It was pure spunk, this time; she made up her mind to lay the Bullion faction out cold, and she did it in great style.

REV. DR. H.[coughing].I noticed a pleasant rivalry.

MR. CRŒSUS.It was war to the knife. I told Julia to go in and win, and I’d back her any amount—and we got there![chuckling].

REV. DR. H.The whole affair was very successful.

MR. CRŒSUS.Successful! I should think so! Why, the Bullion booth couldn’t hold a candle to ours! I paid seven hundred dollars for the floral decorations alone.

REV. DR. H.[coughing violently].Your generous nature, Mr. Crœsus, is a noble endowment.

MR. CRŒSUS.Ain’t you barking more’n usual, Doctor?

REV. DR. H.A trifle only—my old bronchial trouble.

MR. CRŒSUS.Better take a run down the coast. You ain’t been away since you got home from Europe in November—and the summer vacation is two months off yet.

REV. DR. H.I presume my unremitting labors have somewhat aggravated my trouble, but——

MR. CRŒSUS[chuckling].Weak lot, these ministers—have to look after ’em all the time. I’ll speak to the vestry.

REV. DR. H.[smiling too].What a vein of humor you have!


REV. DR. H.Good-morning, my dear Mrs. Bullion; in your place, as always.

MRS. BULLION.Yes; I can come to church on Sunday if I have worked all the week; some people can’t.

REV. DR. H.A little relaxation would have been pardoned to-day, dear Mrs. Bullion—your zeal during the past week has been so great.

MRS. BULLION.I did work hard, and it was all the more galling to have my efforts so belittled, as they were in one direction.

REV. DR. H.[coughing].Oh, I think not! Everybody spoke of your lovely booth.

MRS. BULLION[softening a little].Is that so? I’m really gratified. The Crœsuses party seemed to think there was nothing worth looking at but theirs. What a cold you have, Doctor Hautton! I told Mr. Bullion there was something more than mere money outlay to be looked for in the arrangement of the booth, and I am so pleased you recognized it.

REV. DR. H.[coughing].I did, indeed! Mrs. Hautton, too, commented on the lovely combination of color.

MRS. BULLION.Did she? She has so much taste! But you must take care of your cough—a little change would break it up the quickest.

REV. DR. H.Yes; I am thinking of a short sea-trip—a run down the coast, perhaps.

MRS. BULLION.The very thing! I’ll have Mr. Bullion see that you get off very soon.

REV. DR. H.You are so very sympathetic, dear Mrs. Bullion.


MRS. BACKPEW.Good-morning, Dr. Hautton!

REV. DR. H.Oh—ah—good-morning, good-morning!

MRS. BACKPEW.I enjoyed the service so much this morning—it’s the first time in seven weeks I’ve been at church.

REV. DR. H.H’m—a long time to be away from one’s place in the Lord’s house.

MRS. BACKPEW.But you know my children have all been ill with scarlet fever.

REV. DR. H.Ah, true; that alters the case somewhat, still——

MRS. BACKPEW.I was so afraid you or Mrs. Hautton might call. I sent a message to the rectory, begging you not to do so—the infection is so great, you know.

REV. DR. H.H’m—yes, very thoughtful, I’m sure. I presume the message was received, as we did not call—did we?

MRS. BACKPEW.Oh, no! Now, however, all danger is over, and——

REV. DR. H.Oh, excuse me, if you please; I must speak to Mrs. Veuveriche a moment.


REV. DR. H.Good-morning, my dear Mrs. Veuveriche! Allow me to see you to your carriage![coughing].

MRS. VEUVERICHE.Oh, Doctor Hautton, I want to see you! I am positively alarmed about you! Your pallor in the pulpit this morning was ghastly. You must have a change!

REV. DR. H.Oh, it is nothing, my dear madam, nothing!

MRS. VEUVERICHE.Nonsense! it’s a great deal. Come around with Mrs. Hautton, and take supper with me after service to-night. Bartrand shall make you a dish of your favorite terrapin, and we’ll see what can be done for you.

REV. DR. H.What a great noble heart you have!